All posts by stellar.ice

Super Neptunia RPG coming this fall!

Getting tired of all these 3D Neptunia games? Then the get ready for some 2D action with Nep-Nep! Super Neptunia RPG will be coming to North America and Europe Fall 2018!  And yes, Nep-Nep is making the Switch; this title will be available for both the Switch and PlayStation 4.

Each character is hand drawn by Tsunako and animated for the upcoming 2D side-scroller.

Story:

In a world where 2D games reign supreme, an organization called Bombyx Mori forces its citizens to churn out 2D games as offerings to their leader. Those who dare to use new technologies or whose games don’t meet their standards risk banishment to the soul-crushing Trial Grounds.

A girl awakens in this world with no recollection of anything beyond her name, Neptune, and soon realizes she possesses great strength. With her newfound sense of heroism and a strange book known as Histoire in hand, she sets off on a journey to see if there might be more than this two-dimensional life.

Key Features:

Old School Dungeons!– Explore gorgeously painted, interactive dungeons in a style inspired by classic gaming titles.

Follow the Leader! – Enter turn-based battles where the party’s attack style changes based on the battle leader. Switch leaders on the fly, transform mid-battle, and use elemental attacks to maximize your team’s strategy!

Save Gamindustri! – In a time where retro gaming and 3D graphics are at polar ends, this story delves headfirst into the debate for a self-aware ribbing of gaming culture.

2D Comes to Life! The hand-drawn art of Neptunia series artist Tsunako is brought to life by Artisan Studios, showing the characters in a whole new way!

 

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NCG Review: Dragon’s Crown Pro (Playstation 4)

Normally I don’t get too excited over the re-release of a game.  However, Dragon’s Crown Pro was a title I didn’t mind revisiting.

Jumping back into the game I had forgotten not only how beautiful the world of Dragon’s Crown is and how addicting the chaotic game play can be.

Visuals

Enhanced for the PlayStation 4 Pro, the graphics look stunning! Visuals have been retouched to give the art work and style of the game more clarity.  The game design and art work in itself is already outstanding, but the enhanced graphics lure you back into the Dragon’s Crown world.  You’ll find yourself wondering why you left it in the first place.Converted_5

Audio

The original soundtrack to Dragon’s Crown set a unique tone and atmosphere for the game.  Dragon’s Crown Pro has taken an already wonderful soundtrack and re-recorded it.  Composed by Hitoshi Skaimoto and supported by a live orchestra, the new soundtrack enhances the gaming experience.  I usually don’t pay much attention to the soundtrack and use whichever tunes are playing on default, but switching it up in the latest version added a more refined element to the game. I think it’s an aspect music junkies can appreciate. Of course, you also have the option to use the original sound track if you don’t care about all the fancy new stuff.

Game Play

What I absolutely love about this re-release is that I don’t have to start the game all over again! You can cross-save your saved data from the PS3 to the latest version so you can start adventuring where you left off.  You basically adventure in the same areas multiple times anyway, but it’s nice to keep your items and characters.  I’ll admit, I would have been heart-broken if I didn’t get to keep my Sorceress, EstllaR.P9_ソーサレスjpg

For those who might be new to this title, you select your character (Fighter, Amazon, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, or Sorceress), assemble your team, and fight your way through dungeons. Each dungeon has two paths you can take, one usually more difficult and challenging than the other.   Your ultimate goal is to gather the crystals from each dungeon and defeat a dragon.

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Dragon’s Crown Pro_20170901175438

There are many aspects I enjoy about this game. For example, the game is very balanced.  There’s a limit to how many times you can use an item or even your main weapon. I chose the Sorceress first, and I had to balance attacks, magic, and recharging my MP to attack. On top of that, items can weaken or break after too many uses. Adventuring through a dungeon also doesn’t guarantee you will obtain the crystal.  There are different criteria you must meet when battling a final boss in order to get the crystal.

The only major downside to the game is how repetitive it can become; you ‘ll have to adventure through the same dungeons multiple times if you fail to meet your goal the first round.  However, there are a lot hidden pathways and treasures within a level.  On your second or fifth round, you might find something you missed the first four times.

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Verdict

Pros:

Upgraded crisp graphics that reveal the details of each hand drawn character and a new soundtrack bring you back into the world of Dragon’s Crown. On top of that, you get to keep your saved data from other consoles and cross-play/cross-save to your heart’s content.

Cons:

Aside from the updated graphics and sound, there really isn’t much new to the game.  I’d have liked to see new characters and new levels.  There’s nothing that really feels “New” to the game. To compensate, DLC content will be released but I think it would have been nice to see it included with the re-release of the game.

If you haven’t had a chance to play Dragon’s Crown, definitely pick up Dragon’s Crown Pro for the PS4.  The hand drawn art style is stunning and the game play is fun and addictive.  I always find myself poking around the screen to find hidden treasures and seeing what I can unlock from the runes.

If you’re a returning player, the buy may or may not be worth it. You don’t lose any of your data, however there are no real new elements to the title.

Do you like Dragon’s Crown? What is your favorite Vanillaware title? Let us know in the comments!Score

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi coming to the West

Slated for a PlayStation 4 release on June 5, 2018, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi will finally have a Western release.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi takes gamers back to the Sengoku Era of Japan.

  “The Sengoku Era was a period where regional lords fiercely fought for supremacy, to claim dominance and unite the lands. Players will have to exploit a wide breadth of tactical options to create fresh strategies that allow new ways to gain an advantage over the opponent. Strategies do not only focus on the Military Campaigns, but also on managing the Production Facilities and Trade Routes to continuously expand territory and increase the strength of the army.

These elements are further enhanced through the introduction of the Resolve System; where each officer has their own set of aspirations that will depict how they will act in a given situation and gameplay will change accordingly, with new tactics needed to accommodate opposing or similar viewpoints. With the Resolve System officers will be showcase a more human and personal feel, providing players a deeper insight into the historical simulation the series is renowned for.”

Will you be checking out this title? Let us know in the comments!

NCG Review: Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms (PSVITA)

The second chapter of Hakuoki is finally here!  A continuation of Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms concludes Chizuru Yukimura’s journey. What will become of the Shinsengumi? Will Chizuru live happily ever after with your favorite samurai?

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Story:

If you haven’t played Kyoto Winds, you definitely want to since Edo Blossoms is a continuation of the first story.  This is particularly important since the continuing story will unfold based on the character you choose.  If you want to go my route, you’ll pick the character who you successfully romanced in Kyoto Winds to see what happens in Edo Blossoms.   However, the core plot of the story still unfolds around the Shinsengumi struggling to uphold their status with the tide of social and economic change in Japan. SPOILER: In addition to the historical drama, characters have consumed the Water of Life and are now super-powered with a craving for blood (aka: Furies).

Gameplay:

Unlike the previous title where you needed to really think about your answers to get a good ending, Edo Blossoms lets you pick your bachelor from the beginning. After selecting your man of choice the story continues with the relationship and ending from the Kyoto Winds.

The game still plays out like a visual novel.  When prompted you can pick from 2 to 3 answers to try to win over your Samurai.  If you make a good choice, you’re rewarded with a juicy screen shot or shown an icon to indicate your response was favorable.Hijikata (9)

It is much easier to get a good ending Edo Blossoms.  However, because of the SPOILER listed above you are prompted on multiple occasions with three options: Offer blood, offer medicine, or let him endure the pain.  This is where it gets tricky, because you can still make good choices, however, providing blood or not providing blood, can prevent a good ending.   The best way around this is to save constantly, and go back and re-load your data.  Or, you can see if you know how well you know your man.  Up to you. I had a lot of luck with Saito since I never found myself going back to previous saved data.  Okita, on the other hand, was a bit trickier.

Audio/Visual

What makes the Hakuoki series so fun is how you it draws the player in using minimal audio and visual.  The background music never feels overwhelming and changes to match the tone of the story (light hearted during humorous scenes, melancholic during reflective scenes) and the simplistic sound effects put you into the story (clashing swords, the rustling of a bush).  The subtle motion of characters, such as a change in facial expression or body posture, is enough to bring the story to life and prevent the visual novel from feeling stagnant.

Verdict

Pros: It was fun to be able to pick up this title and continue the story from the first game.  Endings that I thought were dismal (Okita’s, for example) actually came together.Sanan (4)

There are so many endings to the game and it makes you want to see what would happen if you fell in love with every character.  I hated living in a where *bleep* died, but in another arc, he was alive!

Because there are so many endings, the story is not the same story over again with a new face.  In one path, (SPOILER) Chizuru’s father is a good guy, and on another path, Chizuru’s father is pure evil!  In one story, Yamazaki dies on the way to Edo, in another, he is still a faithful character.  There is no single variation.

Cons: Since there are so many different endings and paths, I feel like some elements from Kyoto Winds are watered down or absent. For example, (more spoilers) you don’t see Sen or Kaoru ever again on certain story paths.

Even though I liked being able to choose my character, I liked the idea of mixing choices and coming up on an unexpected ending.  Following a character path almost made it too easy to have the happy sappy romance ending.

Verdict

I give Edo Blossoms an 8 out of 10.  The various continuations made the game a lot of fun.  The major downside is I feel like I can’t pick it up without playing Kyoto Winds first.  There’s lots of romance to be had, and so many scenes that will make your heart flutter! Definitely worth a couple play throughs.Score

Who was your favorite character in the series? Did you have a favorite story line? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

Super Smash Bros and Splatoon 2 World Championship Tournament coming to E3

Nintendo isn’t going to let up! On top of nearly every title coming to the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo will be bringing its top 2 competitive titles to E3: Super Smash Bros and Splatoon 2.

The event will have players from around the globe and give players a chance to try out Super Smash Bros on the Switch.  However, this is an invitational event.  Only qualifying teams will have a chance to compete in Splatoon 2. In order to quality, you can compete in the online qualifier on April 21 at 11am P.T. and finals will be held on April 28th.

Will you be at E3 2018? Do you plan on competing for a chance to compete in the Splatoon 2 tournament? Let us know in the comments!